KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

New Public Opinion Polls Highlight Debt-Ceiling Concerns, Attitude Shifts

The Wall Street Journal reports on a "dramatic shift in attitudes" as the majority of those polled support President Barack Obama's 10-year plan, which includes federal spending reductions that would touch Medicare and other entitlement programs. Meanwhile, a Washington Post/ABC poll highlights Americans' views that both sides - and especially GOP lawmakers - are "too dug in" on the deficit negotiations and some Democrats express concern that Obama is too willing to compromise on issues like raising Medicare's eligibility age.

The Wall Street Journal: Public Tilts Toward Debt-Cap Compromise
The poll of 1,000 adults, taken July 14-17, found a dramatic shift in attitudes toward the debt-ceiling debate as the public tunes in to the issue that is consuming Washington. …  Of those polled, 58 percent said they supported Mr. Obama's approach, a $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan over 10 years that would cut federal spending, including on Medicare, and raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy. In comparison, 36 percent said they backed the leading proposal among congressional Republicans, which would reduce the federal deficit by $2.5 trillion, also over 10 years, by cutting federal spending but holding the line on taxes (Weisman and Glueck, 7/20).

The Washington Post: Post-ABC Poll: GOP Too Dug In On Debt Talks; Public Fears Default Consequences
Majorities of Americans see both President Obama and congressional Republicans as not willing enough to compromise in their budget negotiations, but the public views the GOP leaders as particularly intransigent. … There is also growing dissatisfaction among Republicans with the hard-line stance of their congressional representatives. … Democrats, on the other hand, appear worried that Obama is too prepared to give in to Republicans. Exactly half of all Democrats say the president is "too willing" to compromise. Most Democrats oppose increasing the age for Medicare eligibility and changing how Social Security benefits are calculated, two major changes that Obama has suggested could be part of a "grand bargain" aimed at overcoming the debt-limit impasse (Balz and Cohen, 7/19).

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